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Can Fam Physician. 2018 Jan;64(1):e33-e41.

Associations between sensory loss and social networks, participation, support, and loneliness: Analysis of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging.

Author information

1
Clinical Assistant Professor and an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon in the Department of Surgery in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna. paul.mick@interiorhealth.ca.
2
Resident in the pediatric neurology program at the University of British Columbia in Kelowna.
3
Assistant Professor in the School of Optometry at the University of Montreal in Quebec.
4
Professor of Psychology at Concordia University in Montreal.
5
Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto in Mississauga, Ont, and a clinical audiologist.

Erratum in

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine if hearing loss, vision loss, and dual sensory loss were associated with social network diversity, social participation, availability of social support, and loneliness, respectively, in a population-based sample of older Canadians and to determine whether age or sex modified the associations.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional population-based study.

SETTING:

Canada.

PARTICIPANTS:

The sample included 21 241 participants in the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging tracking cohort. The sample was nationally representative of English- and French-speaking, non-institutionalized 45- to 89-year-old Canadians who did not live on First Nations reserves and who had normal cognition. Participants with missing data for any of the variables in the multivariable regression models were excluded from analysis.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Hearing and vision loss were determined by self-report. Dual sensory loss was defined as reporting both hearing and vision loss. Univariate analyses were performed to assess cross-sectional associations between hearing, vision, and dual sensory loss, and social, demographic, and medical variables. Multivariable regression models were used to analyze cross-sectional associations between each type of sensory loss and social network diversity, social participation, availability of social support, and loneliness.

RESULTS:

Vision loss (in men) and dual sensory loss (in 65- to 85-year-olds) were independently associated with reduced social network diversity. Vision loss and dual sensory loss (in 65- to 85-year-olds) were each independently associated with reduced social participation. All forms of sensory loss were associated with both low availability of social support and loneliness.

CONCLUSION:

Sensory impairment is associated with reduced social function in older Canadians. Interventions and research that address the social needs of older individuals with sensory loss are needed.

PMID:
29358266
PMCID:
PMC5962968

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